As the family continue to arrive – Tom and Annie have now joined us – the ancient board games are resurrected from the cupboards where they have lain. I don’t remember ever having played many of these with them; I’m told they used to play them while they were waiting for me to come home from church. By general consent we play a game of Articulate.
It’s maybe very non-PC of us to play Men vs. Women. But it yields some fascinating and instructive dynamics. Try as the “describers” might to give clues that their fellow team members alone might guess, in the open round it is very often their spouse who is first to guess, giving a point to the other side.
But the mental kinship also works between father and son. In the crucial deciding question, Tom says, “I’m one of these.” Scientist? Graduate? Yuppie? Rugby fan? Geek? “And Einstein was one.”
“Genius!” I guess triumphantly and correctly. Amidst a chorus of protest from the losing Women, that he had lied, cheated, etc. I reflect that when I was Tom’s age, or younger, I used to tell myself that I was a genius, too. One of the hardest doses of reality as you grow up, is coming to terms with the fact that you ain’t any such thing, mate.
Meanwhile we learn that Christmas is prime time for viruses as they get transported round the country and introduced to whole new cities and regions. We’ve done our bit for the viral ecology too, by sharing the various bugs and germs around – like most other families of the diaspora.
Strong winds in the night blow the empty church hall bins down the street. Now that Oxford has gone over to its wonderful new recycling scheme, with green wheelie bins and blue and green recycling boxes, all the old dustbins are redundant and standing empty and idle as an Evangelical’s surplice. It’s a profound metaphysical question: How do you throw away a dustbin?